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Remembering Woolworth's: A Nostalgic History of the World's Most Famous Five-and-Dime Paperback – July 11, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (July 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312277040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312277048
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In our age of nationwide discount retailers, Remembering Woolworth's: A Nostalgic History of the World's Most Famous Five-and-Dime provides an entertaining look back at one of retail's most successful pioneers, F.W. Woolworth, and his empire of department stores that defined the shopping experience for millions over the course of its 118-year existence. Woolworth, considered by his first boss to be the "worst salesman in the world," overcame repeated failure and financial hardship to open his first store in 1879 in Lancaster City, Pennsylvania. Through trial and error, the young Woolworth learned that selling large quantities of low-priced merchandise led to profit. Insightfully, Woolworth made his customers feel "rich"--and generated immense customer loyalty by offering products at affordable, nickel-and-dime prices. The Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan, the tallest in the world upon its completion in 1913, embodied the strength of the retail empire that, at its peak, consisted of over 10,000 stores worldwide. The corporation was eventually sold in 1997.

Remembering Woolworth's combines personal testimony, black-and-white and color photos, and period graphics to create a friendly, scrapbook feel. Karen Plunkett-Powell adeptly explores the personal and professional sides of F.W. Woolworth and the success of his "Red-Fronts" both domestically and abroad. She is at her best, however, in recapturing the particulars of the Woolworth shopping experience: the counter girls, seasonal traditions, collectibles, and lunch counters. At times historically light and colloquial, Remembering Woolworth's nevertheless brings back to life one of retail's most influential entrepreneurs and one of the world's most endearing department stores. --Bertina Loeffler-Sedlack --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The rags-to-riches story of Frank Winfield Woolworth and his worldwide chain came to an end in 1997, as the last of the Woolworth's stores closed their doors after 118 years of operation. Across America, this closing had a huge emotional impact on countless shoppers accustomed to the finery of the five and dime, a concept of merchandising invented by Woolworth. Plunkett-Powell (The Nancy Drew Scrapbook) presents a colorful, nostalgic remembrance of this fascinating business, from its beginnings in 1879 through the Depression and the war years, the tumultuous Sixties and the pivotal Civil Rights lunch counter sit-ins, to its latter days of redirection and ultimate finale. While an economic analysis of the retailing empire's rise and fall is definitely lacking, this warmly written treatise will serve all public libraries, especially in those communities that can still recall when their own red-front Woolworth's was open.
-Dale F. Farris, Groves, TX
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
Ms. Karen Plunkett-Powell's book is a joy to read, with great pictures.
Sue Fox
Reading this book makes you realize that Woolworth's was everything Kmart and Wal-Mart are not - charming, inviting, and much more than a place to get a bargain.
13 Is the New 18 author
Ms. Powell takes us boomers on a delightful walk down Woolworth's memory lane.
Clare Wharton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sue Fox on December 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Karen Plunkett-Powell's book is a joy to read, with great pictures. It follows the rise and fall of Woolworth's; sharing behind-the-scenes history that most people wouldn't know. BUT MOST IMPORTANT -- it brought back more memories than I realized I had forgotten of my child and teenage years and reminded me of just how many important things my family (and probably yours!) purchased from Woolworth's. My Woolworth's was in downtown Bradenton Florida, but reading the book I realized that people all over the USA and some foreign countries have many of the same memories that I do of Woolworth's -- parakeets, goldfish and hamsters, coke-floats and grilled cheese sandwiches, the 25-cent photo booth, parfume and cosmetics, the candy counter, comic books, my first watch, my first musical jewelry box, seasonal clothing, hula-hoops and batons, tennis shoes and flip-flop sandals, portable typewriters, play guns and dolls -- but most of all, Woolworth's was our Christmas Store. As the daughter of a 29-year Woolworth's saleslady, Woolworth's was where I wandered as a child, searching out all the things I hoped Santa would bring. Revive your memories -- this book sure is a trip down memory lane! Highly Recommended!
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Susan Woolley on November 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book! There is a tremendous amount of fascinating detail as well as many wonderful pictures. The "time capsule memories" are especially gripping. And I was amazed to learn that Frank W. Woolworth's 7 business tips, the key to his success, are still relevant today. I liked this book very much and highly recommend it!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Donna Steinhorn on December 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Remembering Woolworth's is full of history, photos and memories of the old stores. It is a particularly readable book, and I especially enjoyed reading about the Woolworth store's overseas, as well as about Frank Woolworth's early years as a struggling merchant. I recommend this book for anyone who ever stepped foot inside a Woolworth's, or for those interested in how one man's ideas changed the world of retailing.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Hansen on February 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
There was a F.W.Woolworths in my home town in Maynard,Massachusetts back in the 50's and 60's. I used to shop for my Mother there. You could get anything from a needle and thread to pet food to plastic toys to glassware to school supplies to 45rpm records. My friends and I used to meet there after school. I used to duck into the storefront from summer rainstorms. The smell of fresh popcorn filled the air. Friendly people were always there to help you find whatever you needed. The absence in America of stores such as Woolworths is a sign of the times. I now live in Lancaster,PA and I met Ms Powell while she researched the home town of F.W.Woolworth. I was happy to meet her and share my stories with her. She was delightful and very interesting. If you're a sentimentalist you need to go back in time and relive those days when we enjoyed shopping for the everyday items that we sometimes dread going to stores for today.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Hardyboys.us on December 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chock full of information, photos, illustrations and trivia, this book is a must read for anyone who ever worked for or shopped at the late, lamented Five & Dime.
From penny candies, grilled cheese sandwiches and banana splits to details on the founder and the company, this book is painstakingly researched and written in a enjoyable style.
I've been a fan of Ms. Plunkett-Powell since reading her excellent "Nancy Drew Scrapbook" and I thoroughly enjoyed this new trip down memory lane.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By 13 Is the New 18 author on January 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book brought back so many memories - and I'm only 41! It's
fun to read, with a layout that mixes photos, anecdotes, drawings, and personal reminscences - almost like a magazine. Reading this book makes you realize that Woolworth's was everything Kmart and Wal-Mart are not - charming, inviting, and much more than a place to get a bargain. Author Karen Plunkett-Powell captures the Americana, the nostalgia, and the details that make us all smile when we remember Woolworth's. For me, it was about recalling the malted milks my aunt used to buy me at the counter when I was small, and the quick gifts I used to pick up for friends and my children from the Woolworth's that used to be located downstairs from an office building where I worked for many years. So many of our everyday experiences nowadays are empty -- do yourself a favor and travel back to a simpler yet more meaningful time by reading this book or buying it for a friend. It's not a typical boring history book -- and it makes a GREAT gift for the senior citizen in your life who you never know what to get for a present -grandma, a relative in a nursing home, a neighbor who signs for your packages or whatever - even if that person is not the type to sit down and read a book, they'll have so much fun leafing through it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Stricker on January 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you're old enough to remember sitting at the counter of Woolworth's, ordering a cheeseburger deluxe, then this book is for you. It's a great chance to reminiscence about the "old red front". But the surprise is it's also a great tale of perseverance and leadership-great reading for the business world!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Clare Wharton on December 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Like rock and roll, Woolworths will be forever engraved in the psyche of baby boomers. In this book, I discovered what precipitated Frank Woolworth's rise from New York hayseed to Merchant Prince. Woolworths was the first store to give middle America a new world of goods, instead of a bill of goods. Through enchanting pictures,heart warming time capsule memories and energizing text, I could revisit the store that sold affordable cologne, boxed stationery and enough candy for the sweet teeth of America's youth. Ms. Powell takes us boomers on a delightful walk down Woolworth's memory lane.
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